In this exclusive interview, we catch up with Clan Brude, the talented music producer known for his captivating electronic soundscapes. Clan Brude recently unveiled his EP titled “Temporary Places,” which was inspired by the unique experiences during the Shanghai lockdown of 2022. Here, he shares insights into the creative process behind the EP, the incorporation of vocals, and the techniques that shape his distinctive sound; join us as we delve into the world of Clan Brude's musical journey and his latest release.
Hello Clan Brude, how are you?
Very good thanks. It’s exciting to have the EP out now and to have just moved to Amsterdam!
Firstly, can you tell us what inspired you to produce the EP? What were the major influences and inspirations behind the production?
The EP came from quite a productive period of time for me, and these three tracks were chosen as they are thematically linked. The whole EP was written and produced during the Shanghai Covid lockdown of 2022. This was a very severely controlled lockdown to the extent whereby food supplies to the city were cut off and Covid positive people (and sometimes their negative close contacts) were forcibly taken to centralized camps. I took inspiration from the very strange and insecure environment created by the authorities at the time to create an EP based on themes of paranoia and escape, hence the title ‘Temporary Places’.
How did you begin the production process? Can you walk us through how you created the tracks? Have you established a production process that you use each time you produce a track?
I do have a vague DAW template from which to start a track, but I do like to keep this quite loose in order not to become restricted by it. For instance, it will have a couple of aux channels set up, side-chain channel and a drum group, but no samples yet loaded. There are quite a lot of soft-synths layered across the EP tracks which creates a sort central musical theme as I was experimenting a lot with sequencing and layering during the production. For the first two tracks, the drums followed by the synths were the beginnings. Once I have the chord progression figured out, the tracks took on a life of their own through experimentation when adding bass, subs and then the vocals. I used my own vocal recorded directly into the DAW as well as a field recording in the second track while for the first and third tracks I worked with a vocalist.
What’s your favourite track on the EP?
The second track on the new EP, which is called ‘Why Does This Paranoia Get Me?.’ This track includes a field recording from the daily call to get tested in the lane where I was living at the time, where a positive test would end with you being removed from your home and taken to a camp. Very paranoid times, but it was also interesting to subvert this into a Progressive House track.
What would you say makes this production stand out from your previous releases?
I think the depth in the approach to the production and a more complex approach to songwriting. For instance, integrating vocal chops created from simpler splicing and then using them as a secondary melody. I also wanted there to be a unique sound in each of the tracks that worked as a running motif. For instance, in ‘Escape (Over and Over)’ there is a glitchy saw wave synth sound that doesn’t quite rhythmically fit in order to add to the discordant feel. In ‘Why Does This Paranoia Get Me’ I recorded in the main vocal than ran it through a variety of phases including formant adjustment to create an almost robotic like vocal line.
The tracks on the EP deliver high energy, can you tell us how you create such a driving and groovy vibe within your productions?
I like to use side-chain compression to provide a duck and pump to some of the elements in each of the tracks including hi-hats which gives it an extra groove. Variety is key here and the breakdowns are equally important as they delineate parts of the track which produces the drive when the track kicks back in. Shakers and layering percussive elements such as kicks also produce groove. Finally, automating the low pass filter on percussive elements can also build groove and drive.
You use vocals throughout the tracks on the EP, can you tell us about this? At what point during the production process do you tend to decide to add a vocal? How do you then begin integrating the vocals into the tracks? What production techniques do you use?
I have been experimenting more with vocals recently, both my own and vocalists I work with. I tend to distort and shift formants when it’s my own! Usually, the track idea gets laid down before any vocals appear. In general, I tend to have 30 second loop at the beginning and then lay vocal ideas over that. If I go down the vocalist route, then I will pretty much create the whole track (the basics of it anyway) with demarcated points for versus, bridges and choruses set out for the singer.
In terms of production techniques, I will start with any corrective work needed, for instance, de-essing and EQing. The vibe of the track will dictate any effects that I will use, but I do have both a go to vocal reverb and vocal delay aux track to send the vocal to when required.
Did you incorporate any new techniques or sounds into the production of ‘Temporary Places’?
Absolutely. As mentioned, I was experimenting with my recording vocals and a field recording. Although, I have used this extensively on my track ‘Lagos’, using a field recording was a challenge in terms of noise removal and warping to the correct beat. I was also more interested in sound design throughout this production which comes out in the synth sounds, including intense saturation as well as rhythmically such as the off-kilter and glitch integration.
How did you know the EP was finished?
This experience was not dissimilar to previous tracks. I actually find it quite a mysterious element to the production process. For me, I think I know when a track is finished when I start adding elements that I think would work, but actually start taking away from the essence. This might be a synth layer too far or some unnecessary ear candy sample. In terms of the EP as a whole, as the Shanghai experience shifted from extreme control a gradual sense of freedom at the beginning of 2023, the theme of my productions and song writing also began to change.
Now that ‘Temporary Places’ is out, what’s next for Clan Brude?
I am hoping to have a new release out before Christmas in the form of a single I wrote with an American vocalist. It is a departure from this EP, although still on the escapism theme, but more exploring the hedonistic side of that. Watch out for information on that one!
We wrap this interview, thanking Clan Brude for his time sharing more details about the behind-the-scenes process of this powerful EP. We look forward to his upcoming releases and the new directions his creativity will take him, keep an eye out for his future projects, and may his music continue to inspire and uplift.
Listen to ‘Temporary Places EP’ Now:
Clan Brude Online